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July 08, 2006

Microsoft's Mouth Feel

Microsoft’s XML Paper Specification is going to take on Adobe’s Portable Document Format. It’s bad enough that Adobe has a 20 year lead and 100% market share; Microsoft chose inferior mouth feel, too.

“Just send me the pee-dee-eff.”
“Just send me the ex-pee-ess.”

I’m no linguist, but I know that it’s easier to say PDF than XPS. Not much, but easier. And “a PDF” sounds more like a thing, i.e. a document, than “an XPS” does.

Technical specs do matter, and XPS looks pretty strong. But in the war for consumer mind share, the battle is won when Sally in Marketing asks Joe in Accounting for a document in your format. Shouldn’t that be as easy as possible?

Microsoft is famous for giving products great code names and then releasing them with committee-created Microsoft Technically Accurate Nomenclature 2006 for Windows.

So it is any surprise that they would take on a technology named “Flash” with one named “Windows Presentation Foundation / Everywhere”? You know, “double-u-pee-eff-slash-ee.”

Are they insane? Try having a long conversation about WPF/E. I can’t even do it. It derails my train of thought. If we do use it around here, I’m sure some easier name will evolve. Like “whip-fee”.

It’s hard enough to get people talking about your product. Don’t let your competitor’s name be easier on the tongue.

Posted by Bob Pritchett at July 8, 2006 10:20 AM

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If it's as poorly designed as Word, Adobe hasn't a thing to worry about.

Posted by: Bill at November 9, 2006 06:16 PM

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